HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1600-1
13. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Eire Government about extradition of persons wanted in connected with criminal offences; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The Government of the Irish Republic are fully aware of our concern that persons wanted in the United Kingdom should be returned from the Republic. We have expressed this concern to them on a number of occasions.

May I be allowed to say, because I misinterpreted an earlier question, that, while we must be very careful about what we say on Irish matters, the speeches of Dr. FitzGerald and the Prime Minister have been uniformly helpful.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

As one who was at the 1900 Club dinner, may I assure my right hon. Friend that it was a very high Tory occasion? On the question of extradition, would it not help the security of the British Isles, which is our common interest, if people accused of terrorism were not only extradited from the United Kingdom to the Republic, which is the case, but extradited in the other direction, which is seldom, if ever, the case?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

That has seldom happened, but we notice that there are 10 cases before the Irish courts, which is new.

Mr. McMaster

Has my right hon. Friend noticed that although many cases have been brought before the Southern Irish courts very few people have been extradited? Will he make representations to the Southern Irish Government to the effect that "political offence" should be very narrowly interpreted, so that people cannot escape justice in Northern Ireland for terrorist activities by simply pleading political privilege?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The important point is that when people are charged and an extradition claim is made it should be met when justified.